Ever since Hugo Chávez’s most recent suggestion to the FARC that they give up their hostages in exchange for nothing, the left has been having a heart attack over it all. You’d have thought the Apocalypse had already begun, ushered in personally by Chávez. In times like this, Machetera believes, it’s important to remember things that actually matter.
Today, April 16, 2008, I woke up late, at 7:30 a.m., turned on National Radio as usual, heard someone talking about the President; carefully followed what he said, turned off the radio because I figured I’d gotten the frequency wrong, turned it on again, to hear the same voice speaking with the most bitter tone, meanness of focus, the worst comparisons; then I understood that it was a case of repressed hate and opportunity had opened its door. All this as criticism, almost completely, sufficiently destructive and directed at those who were listening. Finally I was so mixed up that I began to doubt my relevance to the process. I asked myself why I doubted, if I had enough reasons to include myself in the President’s call. I thought back to how I’d lived during previous governments and the moment when I recovered the hope of living in a world with justice and love. With those two words of February 4th, “for now,” I realized that there was a movement of young patriots ready to say “enough” and do whatever was necessary to put an end to the suffering we’d endured, even at the expense of their lives.
Why such extreme cruelty? To preserve his critical character or to seem like a Ledesma mercenary? Look sir, don’t call me a sheep either for applauding the president, saying I worship the cult of his personality; I insist you respect me. I admit that I feel compassion when people can’t love nor be loved.
I love Chávez whenever I come out of one of the Barrio Adentro clinics, with an x-ray and electrocardiogram and medicines in hand, all free of charge.
I love Chávez when I receive my augmented pension that covers basic expenses.
I love Chávez when I come out of the market with a bag full of goods to take me through the week.
I love Chávez when I get on the bus or metro without having to pay anything.
I love Chávez whenever I cross the bridge over the Orinoco.
I love Chávez when I take the airport highway and see the housing developments being built to give shelter to the poor, excluded from all their rights by previous governments.
I love Chávez when I don’t find children wandering the streets.
I love Chávez when single mothers receive assistance to save them from prostitution.
I love Chávez for the three meals that children receive in their schools.
I continue to love Chávez for having surrendered his life to the service of the people.
I think that the gentleman speaking [on the radio] is probably an intellectual, I don’t doubt it; his style confirms my assumption, another one who separates himself from the people. With this kind of intelligentsia, who needs Globovision? I’m a housewife and not someone who just repeats what the President says, nor am I a snitch. How would I, a revolutionary, feel, accepting everything I hear and worse still, repeating what you’ve said? I’d be denying my conscience, wouldn’t I? I’m not well read, nor did I go to university, but yes, I have a huge heart where I house enormous feelings of gratitude and love for those who offer a better life and the fact that we’ve been given the tools; that’s how errors are made, often for causes lost in the name of solidarity.
I feel as though he has brought me his humanity, his love, his unfailing capacity to resolve the most immediate problems, also the example of a will to work, never seen in any previous president, always with his iron determination to give us the best in search of happiness for all of us who live in this country that we love.
With good reason, there’s no going back.
lelia_delgado (at) hotmail (dot) com
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.